(CNS News.com) – When asked if it is possible for the U.S. to engage in free trade with a communist country such as China, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said, “Certainly, the trade that we have with China isn’t free in any real sense.”
At the Capitol on Thursday, CNSNews.com asked Sen. Hawley, “The U.S. trade deficit with China in 2021 was more than $300 billion for the tenth year in a row. Can the United States have free trade with a communist country?”
The senator said, “Oh, good question, good question. Certainly, the trade that we have with China isn’t free in any real sense. First of all, they impose all sorts of duties, tariffs, a lot of things on our goods that we don’t impose on theirs. But one of my big concerns is the Chinese system of slave labor that’s rampant throughout the country.”
“I just introduced a bill this week with Senator [Kirsten] Gillibrand that would crack down on slave labor in American corporation supply chains, which are kind of the only corporations we get jurisdiction over,” said Hawley.
“But, you know, for an economy that really runs on slave labor and abuses its own citizens, you know, I think we have to be very careful about supporting that,” he said. “But also, listen, my view on trade policy generally is, we’re a trading nation. There is no doubt about that, but our trade deals and policy need to reflect what’s best for American workers and American families, and no doubt our current trade policy with China isn’t working, that’s been true for a couple of decades.”
As the Census Bureau reported Monday, the United States ran a $355,301,700,000 merchandise trade deficit with the People’s Republic of China in 2021, marking the tenth straight year the U.S. trade deficit with China has topped $300 billion. In 2018, the deficit hit an all-time high of $418,232,900,000.
During 2021, the United States exported $151,065,200,000 in products to China, but then imported $506,366,900,000 in products from China, resulting in $657,432,100,000 in total trade between the two countries -- and a $355,301,700,000 deficit for the United States.
In its latest report on human rights in China, the State Department said that China is "an authoritarian state," where the "Chinese Communist Party is the paramount authority." "Significant human rights issues," it said, "included: ... forced labor and trafficking in persons; severe restrictions on labor rights, including a ban on workers organizing or joining unions of their own choosing; and child labor."
Since the Communists took over China in 1949-50, the regime has killed more than 65 million of its own people for political reasons, according to The Black Book of Communism (Harvard University Press).